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Offline Richard  
#1 Posted : Saturday, August 2, 2014 7:35:05 PM(UTC)
Joined: 1/19/2010(UTC)
Posts: 695
United States

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This is a quote from Eric S. Raymond's classic Internet essay, "How To Ask Questions the Smart Way":

Write in clear, grammatical, correctly-spelled language

We've found by experience that careless, sloppy writers are usually also careless, sloppy thinkers ... (often enough to bet on, anyway). Answering questions for careless, sloppy thinkers is not rewarding; we'd rather spend our time elsewhere.

So, expressing your question clearly and well is important. If you can't be bothered to do that, we can't be bothered to pay attention. Spend the extra effort to polish your language. It doesn't have to be stiff or formal — in fact, hacker culture values informal, slangy, and humorous language used with precision. However, it has to be precise; there has to be some indication that you're thinking and paying attention.

Spell, punctuate, and capitalize correctly. Don't confuse "its" with "it's", "loose" with "lose", or "discrete" with "discreet". Don't TYPE IN ALL CAPS; this is read as shouting, and considered rude. (All-smalls is only slightly less annoying, as it's difficult to read. Alan Cox can get away with it; you can't.)

More generally, if you write like a semi-literate boob, you'll very likely be ignored. Writing like a l33t script kiddie hax0r is the absolute kiss of death, and guarantees you'll receive nothing but stony silence (or, at best, a heaping helping of scorn and sarcasm), in return.

If you're asking questions in a forum not in your native language, you'll get a limited amount of slack for spelling and grammar errors — but no extra slack at all for laziness (and yes, we can usually spot the difference). Also, unless you know what your respondent's languages are, write in English. Busy hackers tend to simply flush questions in languages they don't understand, and English is the Internet's working language. By writing in English, you minimize the chance of your question being discarded unread.

Of course, we are somewhat lenient here on the forums used by those seeking to establish or deepen a relationship with Yahowah. But still ...

Oh, by the way, among Internet coders and maintainers, the hackers are the good guys, the ones who created and continue to improve the Internet and other technologies. Hollywood has flipped that around and society at large has swallowed the lie, as usual. But the hackers are the good guys, the creators, the fixers, the problem solvers. The bad seeds are called crackers because they crack codes illegally, break things, and generally seek to do evil. And now you know. So when Mr. Raymond refers to "hacker culture", he's referring to the good guys, the ones to whom we go for help with our PC and OS problems.

Hope this helps someone.

Offline James  
#2 Posted : Sunday, August 3, 2014 7:45:51 PM(UTC)
Joined: 10/23/2007(UTC)
Posts: 2,612
Location: Texas

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Great post Richard. Thanks.
Don't take my word for it, Look it up.

“The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.” ― Ayn Rand
Offline Bubsy  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, August 5, 2014 4:35:49 PM(UTC)
Joined: 1/2/2014(UTC)
Posts: 121
Location: Los Angeles

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And if anyone still needs Richard's tips put another way, just watch these Word Crimes for examples of what to avoid.
Ha Shem? I'm kind of fond of Ha Shemp, Ha Larry, and Ha Moe myself. And the earlier shorts with Ha Curly.
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